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Commissioners to decide most pressing building projects

Mecklenburg County Commissioners will begin the process today of figuring out what county construction projects to begin work on first. WFAE's Lisa Miller has more: Mecklenburg County is having to scale back its vision for school, parks, library and jail construction projects. As budgets began tightening earlier this year, county commissioners decided to delay a number of projects. They now have the task of deciding what gets built next year. And there are several demands, including a $220 million jail, $286 million in school construction projects and $250 million for parks improvements. Next year, county staff has suggested issuing only $150 million in debt. In the years after that, the recommendation goes up to $253 million. Dena Diorio, the county's finance director, says the county won't be able to take on all these projects at once. "When we didn't have some of these issues I think the folks that were building these projects thought that they would finish them more quickly than they're going to be able to finish them now," says Diorio. "So projects that should've been under construction this year in 2010 are actually going to now be deferred to 2011 because we weren't able to issue the debt that we needed for them to start them when we had hoped they would." This afternoon, county administrators will give commissioners their recommendations on what projects the county should undertake first. Commissioners could vote on the matter as soon as next month.